In our class we use reading and writing not only to free our minds, but to create a more equitable and just society.
Our school is also the only majority black high school in the state.
We have come from nearly being closed, to outpacing the entire district in graduation rate growth over the last five years (from 60% to 84%). We are also a middle college program, and are ramping our 9th and 10th graders up to take college level classes their junior year.
Our students are creative, passionate, and understand the value of education. They are also justice minded, and are focused on creating a more equitable society in their lifetime.
My students, who are majority black, can tell me all about Captain America and Spider-man. They can argue about if Batman should really be regarded as a superhero since he doesn't have any powers, or if Wonder Woman is a feminist icon or a creation of male fantasy.
If you ask them about Black Panther, though, they have very little to say.
Part of what I do as an English teacher is try to provide my students of color examples of people who look like them in positive and powerful roles. Superheroes are such a huge part of media and pop culture now that they are nearly ubiquitous. Still, it is a genre where most stories are told by white men about about white men.
These books represent a departure from that Ta-nehisi Coates is a black writer, Black Panther is a black superhero, and World of Wakanda is about the women who protect his kingdom. It really checks all the boxes.
Plus, they're comic books! Who doesn't love to read comic books?
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